All 42 million recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will receive additional aid in a permanent boost from President Joe Biden, who is increasing food stamp benefits by more than 25 percent from pre-pandemic levels.
There has long been a misconception about who receives welfare. The stereotype of President Ronald Reagan’s Black “welfare queen” committing welfare fraud from the 1980s still looms large. In fact, white Americans have greatly benefited from the U.S. welfare and aid programs.
“Researchers agree that white Americans greatly benefited from New Deal programs and post-World War II policy, while Black Americans were discriminated against. Then, when Black Americans started to access welfare benefits at a higher rate starting in the 1970s, there was a backlash among conservatives,” Business Insider reported.
“State and local governments administered almost all federal New Deal programs, and many of these state and local government leaders, especially in the South, were virtually all white … and racist,” said Gary Orfield, a professor of education, law, political science, and urban planning at the University of California at Los Angeles.
When former President Donald Trump made cuts to food stamps, his new work requirements threw 700,000 people off Snap benefits. African Americans were hard hit, The Guardian reported. Trump’s work requirements changes attached to the food stamp benefits program affected mainly Black recipients, not because they are the dominant recipients but because they have higher unemployment rates.
One in three households using Snap benefits are African American. African-American households are more likely to experience food insecurity than white, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
“Across the programs, people overestimate the share of recipients who are Black,” said Elizabeth Lower-Basch, a senior analyst with the Center for Law and Social Policy, in a report for Clasp, the Center for Law and Social Policy. “It’s not surprising because we all know people’s image of public benefits is driven by stereotypes.”
Here are three things to know about Biden’s food stamp benefits increase.
The nutrition assistance program will provide the largest increase in food stamp benefits in its history, NBC News reported.
“It’s in our collective best interest to make sure that we’re helping folks through difficult times,” said Agriculture Department Secretary Tom Vilsack in a press statement.
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Under Biden’s new rules, the average monthly benefit of $121 per person before the pandemic will rise by $36, NBC News reported.
Benefits are awarded on a sliding scale, and the new maximum will increase to $835 a month for a family of four, an increase of 21 percent.
Recipients will receive additional aid when the changes go into effect in October.
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